One third of The Alfred hospital's major trauma patients are country Victorians

RECOVERED: Ken Greenbank fell from a ladder in September last year. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

RECOVERED: Ken Greenbank fell from a ladder in September last year. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

WHEN Ken Greenbank fell from a ladder at his Sebastopol home on September 3, last year, an MRI showed his brain resembled scrambled eggs.

Luckily, the 1142-game football umpire survived to tell the tale except he still can't remember any of it.

Mr Greenbank's wife Phyl said he was cleaning out the gutters when he fell trying to move a bucket.

"I heard a noise and ran outside," Mrs Greenbank said.

Fortunately she knew basic first aid and made sure he was still breathing and nothing was constricting his airways while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

"They took him to the Base Hospital and they took one look at him and called the air ambulance.

"They told my daughter and I to go to Morshead Park and they showed us everything in the helicopter. I even asked to take a photo of him in the helicopter because I knew he wouldn't believe it otherwise."

Within 30 minutes Mr Greenbank was landing at The Alfred hospital, where he was put in an induced coma for three days with a badly bruised brain.

He stayed for two-and-a-half weeks, returning to the Base Hospital for another week and having physical and speech therapy through the Queen Elizabeth Centre.

When he returned for a recent check-up, his specialist told him "you shouldn't be here" and showed him the first MRI scan taken.

"Now he's back doing everything even gardening and annoying his wife," Mrs Greenbank said.

"There is nothing bad I can say about his medical treatment. Everyone bent over backwards to help us."

As part of its Father's Day Appeal, The Alfred hospital has released data which shows regional Victorians account for more than 30 per cent of its major trauma patients, with seven per cent from the Central Highlands.

The top three most common injuries are low falls, motor vehicle accidents and falls from a height.

The hospital's Emergency and Trauma Centre director, Dr de Villiers Smit, said men were more likely to take part in risk-taking behaviour, such as driving fast, or not taking precautions on ladders.

"At The Alfred, we see more people surviving these experiences due to improved trauma care, but our message of prevention remains the same drive slower, don't drink and drive and be careful on ladders," Dr Smit said.

To support the hospital's Father's Day Appeal to redevelop the emergency and trauma centre, SMS Dad to 0400 807 807 or visit fathersdayappeal.org.au

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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